Face-to-face communication may also become a part of regular meetings in the near future. Laptops can now be equipped easily with cameras so everyone can stay in touch, even when traveling. Interviews can be done long distance, cutting down on travel and the associated expenses. Operators and managers will continue to see more streamlining in the reporting, communications and analysis processes.
The Development Stage
Improving margins and profit for property owners is another goal for most third-party management companies. As systems and processes become more automated, operating costs will decrease.
Each year, more third-party management companies are conducting feasibility studies and market analysis, developing marketing strategies and providing manager training. No one in the industry better knows how stores operate and what features are needed like a management company.
Providing these valuable services from the moment a client chooses a site to the grand opening allows a management company to ensure the front desk is functional, customers are accommodated, and traffic flows in and out of the site as it should. These services will play an even more important role in the future.
The current financial market not only dictates a well-structured plan, it requires developers to have someone on the team with a proven track record. Accurate forecasting of lease-up absorption, negative cash requirements during leaseup, and startup costs can best be found by using a proven management professional in the planning and development of any new self-storage operation. These services will become increasingly important as the industry changes due to pressure from financial providers.
M. Anne Ballard is president of Atlanta-based Universal Management Co., which provides global consulting for self-storage evaluations, feasibility studies, training and development services. The company also offers full-service fee management in the United States, where it manages more than 35 storage locations. For more information, visit www.universalmanagementcompany.com.